Maradona to conduct football clinic at Mohun Bagan ground

December 4th, 2008 - 12:08 am ICT by IANS  

Bayern MunichKolkata, Dec 3 (IANS) Argentine soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona is all set to conduct a football clinic at the Mohun Bagan ground here for under-12 boys Dec 7 as part of his two-day trip to the city.Maradona, the hero of Argentina’s victory in the 1986 World Cup and now the South American nation’s coach, would spend 45 minutes with the sub-junior rookies, Mohun Bagan general secretary Anjan Mitra told reporters Wednesday.

The clinic would begin at 3 p.m., when the sub-junior sides of the Mohun Bagan academy and Bhowanipore Academy would play a brief match that Maradona will watch.

“After seeing them play, Maradona will decide how he will conduct the clinic. We have left the entire matter to his discretion. If he wants, the clinic may stretch to more than 45 minutes,” Mitra said at the club tent.

“It’s a dream come true for us,” he added.

MP Samik Lahiri, one of the tour organisers, said Maradona had himself expressed his willingness to conduct the clinic for youngsters.

Mitra said Bagan members would have to purchase Rs.50 tickets to watch Maradona give tips to the boys on his first ever visit to India.

This will be yet another honour for the 119-year-old city outfit, which raised nationalist spirits during the freedom struggle against British rule by becoming the first ever Indian club to win the IFA Shield in 1911. In May, Bagan played an exhibition match with German giants FC Bayern Munich. Over 120,000 spectators turned up for the game, which was the last international outing for legendary German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn.

In 1977, the club had also played an exhibition game at the Eden Gardens against US’s Cosmos club, which had in its ranks Brazilian football king Pele.

Maradona is scheduled to arrive here Dec 6 for the tour, which is estimated to cost the organisers Rs.120 million.

On the same day, he is to fly to the facility of one of the sponsors at Batanagar in South 24 Parganas district, before proceeding to Maheshtala to lay the foundation stone of the Indian Football School (IFS).

Later in the day, he will be given a grand felicitation at the Salt Lake Stadium by the West Bengal government and the IFS. All former soccer stars of the country, who have played in the Asian Games, have been invited for the ceremony, where a golden replica of the stadium would be presented to Maradona.

With the Argentinian famed for left foot wizardry, the organisers have also decided to gift him a golden replica of a left foot with a football.

The tickets have been priced from Rs.50 upwards for the felicitation. “More than 50,000 tickets have already been sold,” said Bhaswar Goswami, executive director of Celebrity Management Group, the promoters of the trip.

On Dec 7, Maradona is expected to visit Mother House, the headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Teresa. He is also likely to call on former chief minister Jyoti Basu’s Salt Lake residence.

After the clinic, Maradona would attend a charity dinner at a five-star hotel. Five jerseys and footballs autographed by the soccer megastar would come under the hammer at the dinner, the proceeds of which would go to the IFS.

Asked about the security arrangements, Lahiri said: “Whatever needs to be done to provide him foolproof security, is being done.”

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